Gendarmes in our garden!

             Why you might be wondering? What had happened? An accident? A robbery?

firebugs

Actually, none of these! I have recently discovered an unfamiliar creature in our garden in S.W. France. From a distance, I thought these little bugs were a type of ladybird – must have been the colours! After much research (wasting time reading all sorts of ‘stuff’ on the internet!) I discovered that these striking looking insects are often called ‘les gendarmes’ by the locals.

Apparently, (more research!) this is because red and black were the colours of the original gendarme uniforms when they were soldiers and part of the army. Are you following?!

However, for English speakers, these fascinating insects are known as ‘firebugs’. I must admit I had never seen nor heard of them before coming out here.

I have usually seem them in large groups and they appear to love the sun. They eat the seeds of lime trees and mallow but are generally not viewed as pests.

This is a close up of a firebug on the outside wall of our house. They move surprisingly quickly!

firebugs4

And another one on a garden chair!

Here are some random facts about firebugs: they hibernate, their diet includes dead insects  and they have been accused of cannibalism…

Have any of my lovely readers seen firebugs? Can you add any facts to my somewhat limited knowledge?

I am linking this post with the very brilliant: #AnimalTales

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6 thoughts on “Gendarmes in our garden!

  1. Isn’t it strange that these creatures don’t seem to exist in UK. I only came across them when I moved to France and never knew their English name “firebugs” until now reading your post! For me they are simply gendarmes and I know nothing what so ever about them. Thanks for enlightening me a little. And thanks for linking up to #AllAboutFrance

    Like

  2. Like you and Phoebe, I had never seen or heard of Gendarmes before moving to Normandy and also spent ages searching online for information about them. I wonder why they have never made it across The Channel? Thank you for adding these colourful French inhabitants to #AnimalTales

    Liked by 1 person

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